Cayo Costa Adventure Week is the newest addition to our summer camp schedule. Teens ages 14-18 are invited to join us for an active and thoughtful week spent on a remote island. We chatted with program leader Char Cadow about what campers can expect.
CCA Week was just added to Sanibel Sea School's teen programs for Summer 2018. What's it all about?
CCA Week is all about adventuring & exploring, discovering & creating, relaxing and having fun, all while staying on Cayo Costa - it's a few islands north of Sanibel and very natural and undeveloped!
How will we spend our days?
We'll have opportunities to go stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, go on shell walks, hike around on the trails, read, watercolor, play music, discover both the terrestrial and marine ecosystems, practice yoga, cast some fishing lines, and anything else our group is excited about!
Part of the week is spent camping at Cayo Costa State Park. How will we get there? How many nights will we stay? What are the sleeping conditions like?
We'll spend Monday on Sanibel, paddling in the canals and prepping for the trip. On Tuesday morning, we'll wrap up any last minute details, and catch a private boat charter up to Cayo Costa. It's about twenty miles by boat to get there, so there's a good chance that we will get to see dolphins, Magnificent Frigatebirds, and a host of other sea-dwelling creatures on the way. When we arrive, we'll catch a tram to our two cabins. We will be staying in cabins 3 & 4, one of which has a large, screened-in porch! The cabins have 3 bunk beds each, complete with mattresses, and a small cooking space. We'll sleep in the cabins on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night, before we catch a boat back to Sanibel.
How is Cayo Costa different from Sanibel?
Cayo Costa is only about 20 miles north of Sanibel, yet it is starkly different. While both islands are barrier islands, Cayo Costa is smaller, with only 9 miles of coastline. However, with the exception of the cabins and a few other state park facilities, there has been no development on the island. It can only be accessed by boat, and therefore has remained in fairly pristine condition. The island has remained more or less unchanged for the last 150 years.
What are we going to eat?
We will be dining in style. Mornings will likely consist of bagels and fruit, and lunches will be sandwich themed. For dinner, we will have a grill, as well as the campfire to cook on. I'd plan on one burrito/taco bowl night (with guacamole, of course!), a curry night, and a stirfry night. In addition, there will be plenty of snack options in between meals.
What will the campers need to bring?
They will need to bring a light sleeping sheet (it will be about 70˚F at night), clothes, rain jackets, headlamps, bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, toiletries, bathing suits, etc. A comprehensive gear list will be provided to all participants, but essentially everyone will need basic overnight items, and any extra "luxury" items that they can fit into their bags. For example, I'm definitely bringing my guitar, a hammock, and possibly my slackline!
Do you think we might get bored on a remote island?
No way - there's a plethora of things to do. I bet we could easily spend several weeks on Cayo Costa without getting bored. There are trails to hike, shells to collect, coastline to explore via paddle board and snorkel, afternoons to relax and read, mornings to practice yoga, evenings to have campfires and play some music - seriously, there's no limit to the number of things that we could do!
You mentioned a campfire. Will there be s'mores?
Oh, there will definitely be s'mores - ever heard of a gourmet s'more? They add a whole new level to the ooey-gooey, chocolatey experience: Substitute Kit-Kats, Reese's, Milky Ways, or Snickers for your classic Hershey's, and voila! Scrumptious!
What do you love about adventures?
Oh my gosh. I don't even know where to start. Adventuring is sort of like my mantra. When I was young, my parents took me on all sorts of adventures that were full of unexpected surprises. We lived in a ruin in the south of France, and worked to fix it up while we lived amongst the rats and wild dogs; we assembled yurts while the 5 of us lived in a camper in the wilds of northern Vermont; we would go on winter Nordic skiing trips, which once ended with an ice jam that forced us back into the woods, where we harvested the previous night's compost out of the snow - we had to eat something to fuel our bodies, after all!
More recent adventures include a thru-hike of the Appalachian trail, an end-to-end hike of the Long Trail, completing the Teton Crest Trail and the 4-Pass Loop, a section hike of the Arizona trail, and a host of other feats. The common threads in these endeavors include the bonds that you get to make with the people you meet and explore with, the memories, discovering new places, learning about yourself, the unexpected obstacles that require creativity and persistence to overcome, and how good any and all food tastes throughout these experiences!
Thank you, Char!
Cayo Costa Adventure Week is July 16-20, 2018. The cost is $400 per camper, meals and transportation included. This program is open to participants ages 14-18. Scholarships are available upon request. To learn more and register, click here or call (239) 472-8585.